At this time of year I crave a good piece of ginger bread. Over the years I have tinkered with a gingerbread cake recipe. I had a great one that I would make into cupcakes at my bakery. When I had my bakery I would get these great compounds and flavorings to enhance the items I made. I would get a ginger compound that was fantastic and would use in this cake. Unfortunately, I no longer have those compounds and flavoring. I could get them, but the size they come in and the small amount I bake at home does not make it worth my while.
I am still craving a good gingerbread cake…what to do??? I head into my kitchen of course. I start mixing and baking to get something that was resembles that cake I made. After a couple of tries I ended up with something that is pretty identical to the original. The original recipe did call for beer. I know it may sound weird; but the complexity of the ginger, spices, honey, and molasses play off lovingly with a stout. Trust me on this one! It is also an intriguing selling point to get someone to try a gingerbread cake made with beer! (Be sure to see the note below about the beer of choice.) I always top off this cake with some lemon cream cheese icing. Now, if you were not sold on the beer portion of this cake you should be sold on the lemon cream cheese icing. I am not lying when I tell you that it is fantastic! I am not a big fan of icings and “sweet stuff” but I love this icing. (Shocking from a person whose profession is working in icing and sugar daily- I know.) The zip that the lemon gives this lightly sweet and somewhat sour icing compliments the gingerbread cake perfectly.
Making this recipe into cupcakes are the perfect little bites and treats for any table. It is great for a simple afternoon treat, the conclusion to a nice dinner, or even at a nice holiday brunch. I think you should dive right in and make them for the holidays. Think of all the people you will impress with a gingerbread stout cupcake and lemon cream cheese icing. They will be talking about it, loving it and wanting the recipe; I am sure. Happy Holidays! Enjoy some gingerbread and eat a cupcake!
Gingerbread Stout Cupcakes (makes 12 – 14 cupcakes)
1 3/4 cups Flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp of All Spice
¼ tsp salt
1 cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ cup of honey
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup of ginger syrup
½ cup Stout Beer
¼ cup Crystallized Ginger, minced
First, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine you dry ingredients in a boel and set aside.
Next, in the bowl of a mixer combine the butter and the brown sugar until well mixed and fluffy. Add in the egg and fresh ginger mixing it until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl to mix well and evenly. Add the molasses, the honey, and the ginger syrup and mix again; scraping down the sides of the bowl to be sure all is incorporated.
Then, add in your dry ingredients. Mix until combined, scraping the bowl down to be sure all is fully incorporated. Once that is done, slowly add the Beer and mix until it all comes together. After all is mixed you can fold in the Crystallized Ginger.
Finally, scoop into cupcake molds until they are half way full. You should end up with at least a dozen cupcakes. Bake for about 25 minutes until done. You are looking for the tops of cupcakes to be soft but not too firm. Let them cool about an hour before icing.
**Note: If you have a stout that you prefer by all means go ahead and use it. When I had my bakery I always made it with Guinness. This year I consulted with a friend who manages a local tavern. She suggested using The Black Frog Nitro Stout from Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Company. This particular beer had a richer, more complex flavor with an almost chocolate like flavor than that of the Guinness. But feel free to use any stout that your heart desires.
Lemon Cream Cheese Icing (enough for a double batch of cupcakes)
8 oz Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
4 oz butter (at room temperature)
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 lb of Powdered Sugar
1 – 2 tbsp of milk
First; in a bowl place your Cream Cheese, butter, and vanilla. Mix it all together and then add in your lemon zest. Mix well and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mixing well until all combined.
Next, add in your lemon juice and mix well. If you feel your icing is too thick you can add in the milk. A little at a time, until all mixed together.
Finally, chill icing about an hour in the refrigerator before spreading on your cupcakes. If not eating right away chill your iced cupcakes…due to the cream cheese you do not want the icing sitting out for an extended period. A couple of hours at the most.